Market Insights

Makerbot expands Thingiverse API


Being at Inside 3D Printing earlier today, I was quite excited to attend Jonathan Jaglom’s lecture on the future of 3D Content. While I was waiting for the start, everyone around was trying to guess what the big announcement could be. My personal bet was an initiative to protect designer’s rights following the Thingiverse-eBay controversy. Jonathan started to remind us of the latests milestones achieved by Makerbot: 100,000 machines sold by now and 1M things on Thingiverse (including quite a significant number of remix, to be fair). I knew already those numbers and was waiting for the big news, hoping to be right on my bet. After a couple of videos, reminder of the new extruder, and a couple more “unleash your creativity” statements, the audience and myself started to be impatient. Then come The News. Let’s face it: I lost my bet. The big announcement was: an expansion of the Thingiverse API… already announced 2 months ago. Not really a revolution.

Jaglom at Inside 3D Printing New York 2016
Jaglom at Inside 3D Printing New York 2016

Makerbot Thingiverse developer program was first made public on the 11th of February 2016. Since then, a very small number of developers and companies have jumped on board. To accelerate adoption, the new Developer Program invites the community of developers to create apps and services that appear directly on a Thing Page, in app purchase and tips, as well as a new Thingiverse Developer Portal. The apps will be organised in three different categories: print apps that provide print services, customization apps that allow users to customize a thing, and tools/utilities apps that analyze, fix or modify a thing.

Designers will continue to control the distribution and use of their content by turning apps on or off for each of their objects. Thing Apps will also obey the terms of the Creative Commons licenses that designers chose for their things.

In App Purchases and Tips

In app purchases and tips for Thingiverse allow app developers to charge for services they offer within their app and designers to receive a cut of these payments through tips. Both in app purchases and tips will only be available for things that are licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows for commercial use and designers can opt out of apps at any time.

Designers that allow an app to work with their thing can decide if they want to receive a voluntary or mandatory tip when the app uses their content and charges for their services. Thingiverse will also offer general tipping for designers outside of apps. This is a way to give back to the people that invest their time and energy to share their work with the world and MakerBot will not receive a cut from tips paid to designers. To receive tips, designers simply connect their PayPal account to Thingiverse.

For developers, Thingiverse takes care of all the payment processing complexities and makes it easy to view and manage orders.

Thingiverse Developer Portal

MakerBot is also launching a new Developer Portal to provide documentation, resources, and enrollment for developers. The Developer Portal includes instructions on how to develop apps for Thingiverse, how to submit apps to MakerBot, and a new sandbox that allows developers to test their apps. The Developer Portal also outlines developer guidelines and lets developers manage their apps and view analytics such as app usage, views, download numbers, and payments.

For a full replay of the lecture, head to our Periscope replay (and do follow us, to catch up live next time)